Board Activities and Meetings
Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program. The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN's Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program. The full scope of the Committee's authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.
A Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held on 26 November 2012 at 23:00 UTC.
Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.
In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO), Chris Disspain, , Olga Madruga-Forti, Gonzalo Navarro, R. Ramaraj, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.
Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison and Francisco da Silva, TLG Liaison, were in attendance as non-voting liaisons to the committee.
Heather Dryden, GAC Liaison, was in attendance as an invited observer.
Bill Graham, Ray Plzak, Erika Mann, and Judith Vazquez sent apologies.
This is a preliminary report the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 26 November 2012.
- Main Agenda:
Christine Willet introduced the topic of the prioritization draw and provided a brief summary of the public comments received on the proposal posted in October 2012. As over half of the commenters supported the proposal to prioritize IDNs, the recommendation for IDN prioritization remains supported by management, as well as the extension of the objection period until 13 March 2013. The prioritization draw is being planned fro 17 December 2012 in Los Angeles, with ticket sales for five days prior to the event. All of the proceeds will be donated to an eligible charity.
The President and CEO noted that there had been some community support for the prioritization of geographic names along with IDNs, but the recommendation is for the prioritization of IDNs only.
The Chief Operating Officer confirmed that it was important to have clear criteria for prioritization so that it was clear which applications would be considered, as well as some public interest justification for the prioritization. Many of the geographic strings have commercial interests behind them, and much of the support for the prioritization of geographic strings came from the applicants themselves. While some of the IDN applications are from commercial interests, there was broad-based support beyond the applicants for prioritizing IDN strings. In addition, it is easy to clearly identify the IDN applications.
Heather Dryden inquired as to how the GAC comments were taking into account in this recommendation. Heather noted that there was not sufficient time for the GAC members to fully consider the content of the proposal and to provide advices as a committee, so individual members were urged to provide direct comment as they saw fit. The GAC was not in a position to provide consensus advice on this issue.
The COO confirmed that there appeared to be some members of the GAC who wished for geographic applications to go forward if they were supported by a government. However, the need to rely on governmental approval was hard to manage when seeking to impose a bright-line rule for prioritization, as there could be competing letters of support, or questions of the level of support required to provide sufficient support. These subjective questions would have required a detailed assessment as part of the prioritization draw.
George Sadowsky noted that it is important for the Board to bring a voice to those that do not yet have a voice in the ICANN community as part of ICANN's public interest role. George suggested that offering prioritization of applications from developing countries would be making a statement about the Board's values on a global stage. George asked the Board if they agree on a goal of additional prioritization for regions that are "domain disadvantaged." George suggested that the implementation of a round robin into the prioritization draw, rotating among the regions, taking one application from each region, in order.
Mike Silber supported George's proposal, as it seems to work in a fashion that will be difficult to game.
Chris Disspain raised a concern that the introduction of a regional priority system could fundamentally change the system that has already received buy-in from the community, and would have to be implemented in a way that is within the draw as set out. Chris confirmed that he'd need to view proposals on how this would operate before consideration.
Olga Madruga-Forti commented that including additional prioritization that is in the public interest is extremely important and supported prioritization in the manner that George described. Olga noted that this would have to proceed carefully, as ICANN cannot compromise the integrity of the careful balance of the whole.
Kuo-Wei Wu noted that he basically supports the proposal.
Gonzalo Navarro stated that while he likes the idea of prioritization, it could be dangerous for the public interest if ICANN starts to try to differentiate too far between different kinds of applications and different kinds of applicants. It is very late in the process to introduce this kind of proposal. Though there are merits in discussing it, expectations shouldn't be raised at this point that this can be incorporated.
The President and CEO noted that seeking meaningful steps in the public interest is important, and placing those who may be from disadvantaged regions in priority may not be as meaningful, as this is just the start of the process to getting into the root, and it could actually disadvantage those with less resources or less access to resources to push them out of the gate first. Further, the community seems to have accepted the IDN prioritization, and introducing a new category for prioritization could upset the balance that has been achieved. This would also make the draw far more complex, and the introduction of complexity has to be considered very carefully. The staff will have to confirm that this could be introduced in a flawless manner.
Thomas Narten agreed that it is really late in the process to make changes, and any changes that are made will really have to mater. The draw should be kept as simple as possible so that it can be executed well, and the benefits of introducing more complexity do not seem to outweigh the risks. The community may not be in support of the Board taking this decision at this time.
The Chair of the Committee noted that while there appears to be support for the proposal, there are also concerns that it might be too late to introduce this concept, and that the introduction will add complexity to the prioritization draw. The Committee requested for staff to take the concerns heard in the conversation and provide a recommendation to the Committee on whether it is feasible to introduce a round robin into the prioritization process.
George Sadowsky moved and Kuo-Wei Wu seconded the resolution.
Tarek Kamel provided the Committee with some background on the issue of the provision of protections in new top level domains for the names and acronyms of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), as well as the GAC advice received on that topic. Tarek noted that the GAC's mention, in it's Toronto Communiqué, of the .INT criteria as a starting point for the development of a list, is incorporated into the recommendation before the Committee.
David Olive confirmed that the proposed resolution is very similar to the action that the Board took in September 2012 on interim second-level protections for the International Olympic Committee and Red Cross/Red Crescent names. As in September, this resolution would respect the ongoing discussions within the GNSO and the policy development processes, while taking into account GAC advice on providing protections for the first round of the New gTLD Program.
Heather Dryden commented that the GAC is a channel for communication on this topic, as IGOs are represented in the GAC. The issue of protections has been on the GAC agenda for some time. Heather noted that there are concerns within the GAC about having issues such as this referred to the GNSO's policy development process.
Olga Madruga-Forti requested clarification on the eligibility criteria, and it was confirmed that the criteria are worded in a way that would not require registration in the .INT registry if the entities did not wish to do so.
The New gTLD Program Committee then took the following action:
Whereas, the GAC has provided advice to the Board in its Toronto Communiqué, stating that "in the public interest, implementation of such protection [of names and acronyms of IGOs against inappropriate registration] at the second level must be accomplished prior to the delegation of any new gTLDs, and in future rounds of gTLDs, at the second and top level."
Whereas, the GAC advice referenced the current criteria for registration under the .int top level domain (which are cited in the Applicant Guidebook as a basis for an IGO to file a legal rights objection) as a starting basis for protecting IGO names and acronyms in all new gTLDs, and advised that "this list of IGOs should be approved for interim protection through a moratorium against third‐party registration prior to the delegation of any new gTLDs" pending further work on specific implementation measures.
Whereas, the GNSO is actively engaged in policy discussion regarding top and second-level protections for certain IGO and INGO names, and has initiated a PDP on the broader issue of whether to protect these names of certain international organizations in all gTLDS.
Whereas, there is currently no policy to reserve or impose a moratorium on the registration by third parties of the names and acronyms of IGOs meeting the .int criteria in place for the second level of the current round of new gTLDs.
Whereas, the protections for the second level, if they are provided and if they are to be effective, should be in place before the delegation of the first new gTLDs.
Whereas, as previously announced, the Board favors a conservative approach, in that restrictions on second-level registration can be lifted at a later time..
RESOLVED (2012.11.26.NG01), the Board requests that the GNSO continue its work on policy recommendations on top and second-level protections for certain IGO and INGO names on an expedited basis.
RESOLVED (2012.11.26.NG02), the Board requests that the GNSO Council advise the Board by no later than 28 February 2013 if it is aware of any concern such as with the global public interest or the security or stability of the DNS, that the Board should take into account in making its decision about whether to include second level protections for certain IGO names and acronyms by inclusion on a Reserved Names List in section 188.8.131.52.3 of the Applicant Guidebook, applicable in all new gTLD registries approved in the first round of the New gTLD Program. The specific IGO names to be protected shall be those names or acronyms that: 1) qualify under the current existing criteria to register a domain name in the .int gTLD; and 2) have a registered .int domain OR a determination of eligibility under the .int criteria; and 3) apply to ICANN to be listed on the reserved names list for the second level prior to the delegation of any new gTLDs by no later than 28 February 2013.
Eight Directors voted in favor of the resolutions. Bill Graham, Ray Plzak, Erika Mann, and Judith Vazquez were unavailable to vote. The resolutions carried.
ICANN has received requests for additional protections for the names and acronyms of IGOs, including from the UN, from the RCRC and IOC, to prevent the registration of such names and acronyms by third parties at the second level. These are similar issues and should be considered at the same time. ICANN committed to considering the recommendations made for enhancing second-level protections for rights holders in an earlier public comment forum and in recent discussions at the Toronto Meeting and international fora such as the IGF Meeting.
In adopting this resolution at this time, the New gTLD Program Committee can remain accountable to all parts of its community, while taking action that is reasonable based on the following precedent and rationale:
The Board set a precedent for this request regarding IGO names with its resolution adopted on 13 September, which requested that the GNSO consider a similar proposed solution for the first round of new gTLDs to protect the RCRC and IOC names at the second level.
For historical reasons, the .int top level domain includes registrations from entities that are not IGOs or those that would not qualify for registration in .int under the current eligibility criteria. As the GAC advice focused on current eligibility criteria as one of its suggested starting points for the creation of a list, it would be overbroad to extend the moratorium to all current .int registries.
In addition, there are entities that, while eligible for registration in .int, choose to not register in .int. Registration in the .int should not be a mandatory requirement. It is for that reason that the requirements for protection do not require registration in .int, only a demonstration that the entity would qualify under the current eligibility criteria for .int. Therefore, the resolution is only as broad as necessary, limiting a list to those names and acronyms meeting the current eligibility criteria for .int and who apply to ICANN for inclusion in the moratorium. This also allows those eligible IGOs that wish to register second level names within new gTLDs the opportunity to not participate in the moratorium.
As reflected in the underlying rationale for the 13 September 2012 (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-13sep12-en.htm) resolution with respect to Red Cross/Red Crescent and International Olympic Committee names, the Board favors a conservative approach, and that restrictions on second-level registration can be lifted at a later time, but restrictions cannot be applied retroactively after domain names are registered. That same rationale applies for IGO names and acronyms at the second-level of the first round of new gTLDs.
Consistent with the Board's Singapore resolution with respect to the IOC and Red Cross issues, the New gTLD Program Committee believes that the appropriate course is for the Board to ultimately leave these issues in the hands of ICANN's policy-making bodies. The Committee appreciates the efforts by the GNSO in initiating an expedited PDP to develop recommendations to provide any necessary additional protections for IGO and INGO names at the top and second-levels in all gTLDs. ICANN staff members are supporting that discussion in the GNSO, and the new gTLD Committee awaits the results of these policy discussions.
This action is not expected to have an immediate impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the DNS. This action is also not expected to have a significant impact on financial or other resources of ICANN.
David Olive introduced the resolution to the New gTLD Program Committee, noting the need for clarity in re-affirming the September 2012 resolution in light of the procedural error that occurred during the GNSO Council vote on recommendations regarding a temporary reservation of certain names of the International Olympic Committee and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. David reported that the GNSO Council was still on track to vote on the recommendations in advance of the 31 January 2013 date identified by the Committee.
Chris Disspain asked for clarification on the resolution, whether it is simply a reiteration of the earlier Committee decision with further action that will still be required by the Board.
Thomas Narten noted that the proposed resolution will have the effect of adopting the temporary protections, as opposed to the earlier resolution setting out the anticipated protections pending input from the GNSO.
The President and CEO confirmed that, based on the communications from the GNSO Council on the vote, that this was a procedural mistake, without which there would be an approval from the GNSO Council that there is no compelling reason to stop ICANN from providing the temporary protections. This is the completion of the work identified in the September resolution.
Olga Madruga-Forti requested a clarification to the language of the resolution regarding the effect of policy recommendations if they are reached in the GNSO, which was incorporated into the text.
Thomas inquired as to the potential to discuss the Board's action with the GNSO Council, to confirm that the Committee's action is based upon the understanding that the GNSO Council did not find a compelling reason against instituting the temporary restrictions.
The President and CEO confirmed that this communication was already underway.
Chris Disspain then moved and George Sadowsky seconded the following resolution:
Whereas, the New gTLD Program Committee on 13 September 2012 requested that the GNSO Council advise the Board by no later than 31 January 2013 if it is aware of any reason, such as concerns with the global public interest or the security or stability of the DNS, that the Board should take into account in making its decision about whether to include second level protections for the IOC and Red Cross/Red Crescent names listed in section 184.108.40.206.3 of the Applicant Guidebook by inclusion on a Reserved Names List applicable in all new gTLD registries approved in the first round of the New gTLD Program.
Whereas, the new gTLD Committee acknowledges that the GNSO Council has recently approved an expedited PDP to develop policy recommendations to protect the names and acronyms of IGOs and certain INGOs – including the RCRC and IOC, in all gTLDs.
Whereas, although the GNSO Council's 15 November motion did not pass due to a procedural technicality, the GNSO Council will vote again on a motion at its 20 December meeting to adopt the IOC/RC Drafting Team's recommendation to temporarily reserve the exact match of IOC and RCRC second level domain names listed in Section 220.127.116.11.3 of the Applicant Guidebook, pending the outcome of the recently launched PDP.
RESOLVED (2012.11.26.NG03), in light of these upcoming policy discussions to take place in the PDP involving the protection of International Governmental and Non-governmental Organizations, restrictions for registration of RCRC and IOC names for new gTLDs at the second level will be in place until such time as a policy is adopted that may require further action.
Eight Directors voted in favor of the resolutions. Bill Graham, Ray Plzak, Erika Mann, and Judith Vazquez were unavailable to vote. The resolutions carried.
Given the Committee's 13 September resolution as well as the high-level and community-wide attention on this issue, it is important for the Committee to indicate that the protections it has recommended for the RCRC and IOC names at the second level of the first round of new gTLDs will be adopted until a policy is developed. In adopting this resolution at this time, the New gTLD Program Committee can take action that is reasonable based on the following rationale:
Consistent with the Board's Singapore resolution with respect to the IOC and Red Cross issues, the new gTLD Committee believes that the appropriate course is for the Board to leave these issues in the hands of ICANN's policy-making bodies. The Committee appreciates the efforts by the GNSO in initiating an expedited PDP to develop recommendations to provide any necessary additional protections for IGO and INGO names at the top and second-levels in all gTLDs. ICANN staff members are supporting that discussion in the GNSO, and the new gTLD Committee awaits the results of these policy discussions.
The Committee has been apprised that the motion to grant temporary protections to the RCRC and the IOC has been resubmitted to the GNSO Council and, having looked at the issue with voting on same resolution when it was considered on 15 November 2012, the Committee expects the Council to adopt the recommendation to provide such special protection for the RCRC and IOC names at its meeting on 20 December 2012. Recognizing the likelihood that the GNSO Council's motion will pass, the Committee believes that it is appropriate to adopt this resolution at the same time as consideration of the IGO issue, as a temporary measure, while the GNSO Council proceeds with the expedited PDP.
In adopting this resolution at this time, the New gTLD Program Committee can reassure the impacted stakeholders in the community, acknowledge and encourage the continuing work of the GNSO Council, and take an action consistent with its 13 September 2012 resolution.
This action is not expected to have an immediate impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the DNS, though the outcomes of this work may result in positive impacts. This action is also not expected to have an impact on financial or other resources of ICANN.
The Chair called the meeting to a close.
Published on 29 January 2013